Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Home Happiness


~J.R. Miller


It is my great prayer that I fill my home with light, joy, blessing and inspiration! I love that quote above by J.R. Miller. I love a lot of things he said actually! :) You'll find his quotes in many of my blog posts over the years (sometimes used more than once!). In the photo above you'll see flowers from Papa Bull's funeral that were given to a few of us girls/grandkids. I almost didn't make it to his funeral....

Resurrection Day didn't turn out as I had planned. I woke up in the wee hours with a stomach bug (but since no one else in my family got sick I think it may have been something I had eaten...one of the pieces of lettuce I ate the night before tasted just awful and I believe may have been the culprit!). Since I was sick I didn't get to go to church or any of the family meals/get togethers unfortunately! I was thoroughly disappointed but didn't have a choice in the matter! Papa Bull's funeral was Monday and I praise God that I felt better and was able to go. I needed to be there for Chris...and I am so glad I could be. It was a long, exhausting, emotional day....but it was good. :)


We've still been experiencing winter weather in Western Pennsylvania! It is seriously depressing! I am thankful that I exercise daily as that keeps my spirits up! I was really excited though when last weekend we had a couple warm days in the 70's! I had the windows open and the laundry out on the lines! We spent time outside cleaning leaves out of garden beds and tidying up outside! It was absolutely glorious! :)



 Sunshine! Glorious sunshine!



We celebrated my dad's birthday earlier this week! My sister and her family (that's her hubby in the blue Bills shirt there!) were able to travel to be there too ~ so that was really great (especially since I had to miss seeing them on Resurrection Sunday!).


 Just a few random photos to share from lately...

My boys (aren't they getting so big!?) and me (after taking them to their music lessons one day)....


Me getting to snuggle this cutie-patootie (my nephew Dusty ~ who is now 9 months old and WALKING....like, everywhere! Ack!)...


Supper one evening was homemade sausage gravy and biscuits (Yum! It's one of my favorites....but I refrained and ate a healthy substitute instead)...


We're rounding up the end of our homeschool year. I plan each Friday for the week ahead. I used to leave it until Sunday and then I always felt crunched to get it planned out in time. My friend told me she planned every Friday and a light bulb came on above my head! Why didn't *I* think of that!? It made great sense and works so much better! My weekends feel so much less stressed knowing that is out of the way! :)


Madelyn made rolls for hamburgers for supper one night... don't they look good!? She is going to be one prepared wife! My girl can cook, bake and clean! I'm so proud of the woman she is becoming! The Lord is so good! :)


I gotta run! I knew it had been a while since I posted and I wanted to do so while I had a chance! I'm super excited as a friend from high school is in town so she and I are going to get to visit for a few hours! I haven't seen her in years and years! :) It'll be fun to catch up! I am going to have some lunch and then go pick her up!

I hope you all had a lovely Resurrection Sunday and that your weeks have been filled to the brim with joy and all things done to God's glory! If you're struggling with this "Narnia Weather" (always winter) like I am....hang in there friends! Spring is a comin'!!! Before long we will be busy in our gardens and ready for the heat to cool off! ;)

Affectionately,
Katy

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sunshine Through My Windows


My dishwasher is broken. Although I already hand wash many of our dishes (I don't like putting plastic items in the dishwasher...nor my pots and pans, wooden spoons, cast iron etc.) I did love to put silverware in there....as well as plates, bowls and glasses. We will be having someone look at it soon. But right now, we are focusing on Resurrection Day as well as a funeral for Chris's grandpa.

Papa Bull (an endearing term Madelyn started when she was little as she tried to say Grandpa Bill ~ which fit him perfectly as he was quite a stubborn man!) passed the other day. It was only a matter of time as his health has been declining over the years. There is a sadness over it....and yet we all feel it to be a blessing as well. He went peacefully. His daughters were constantly by his side....but when they both went home to shower and clean up for a few minutes...he passed while they were away! He was a rough, tough logger in his younger years (who my husband said you would never hear complain about pain or anything!) and waiting until he was alone to die seemed like something he would do!

The viewing and funeral will be Monday. So things will be busy for us the next few days. I must admit, I look forward to the joy of Resurrection Day ~ the celebration of our Lord's rising from the dead as well as Monday when we will reminisce about Papa Bull; all the loving fond memories!


It's cold outside today....but the sun is shining gorgeously through the windows of my home! Despite the cold, I find such enjoyment from the beautiful sunshine! :) It really uplifts the spirits! Xavier is here at home with me. Chris is working an auction a short drive away (as our Brother-in-Love ~ aka:Chris's best bud ~ is an auctioneer). Madelyn is painting chicken coops at a friend's house...and Jaxson is with my mom. They made pies yesterday (Jax loves to make pie and he's good at it too!) and I am not sure what they are doing today!



I went to the gym this morning...then came home to shower and eat. I have been doing dishes (as is quite obvious by my first picture! haha!) and laundry to get my day going. I need to make rolls for a meal with family tomorrow and get some other things checked off my to-do list!


Aren't the flowers in my photos above beautiful? My aunt gave them to me! I had them in the living room but the sun doesn't shine in there so I brought them into the kitchen to get a good ol' dose of sunshine! The bouquet is full of tulips, daffodils and hyacinth! Flowers make me happy and I am so excited for spring to really arrive! Laundry drying out on the lines, mowing, gardening, planting flowers and enjoying the sunshine! I think the bitterly cold winters we have in PA most years really help me to appreciate the spring and summer weather! :) 


I am making some lunch right now and need to continue on with my day! I hope your weekend is quite lovely! I pray you are able to enjoy your Lord's Day/ Resurrection Sunday as we celebrate our Lord's rising from the dead! What a Savior we have!

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

1Corinthians 15:3-5 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.


“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” 

~ Charles Coulson



Warmly,
Katy

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Weightloss: Before & After Pics


So, if you follow me on Instagram (I'm not on other forms of social media...except twitter...but I use that to promote my etsy shop or sermons on youtube I like to share!) then you may have already seen the photo above. If not...please know that this is super embarrassing to post...but necessary as well.

The photo on the left was taken in 2012 or so, I think. Maybe 2011...I can't remember exactly...but it was when I was at my highest weight. After having my babies, not exercising and eating too much (homemade bread, cinnamon rolls and good ol' fashioned country meals etc.) I had really gained weight! I just wouldn't look in a mirror and just accepted that it was who I was and how I was going to be. Honestly, when I looked in the mirror (at my face) I didn't think it was *that* bad...as the weight comes on gradually. I knew my clothes didn't look awesome on me but I didn't want to be vain anyway..so it seemed to work out perfectly. If I was heavy, I wouldn't take pride in myself...thus thinking I was staying humble and actually pleasing the Lord. Oh dear....why does my brain not work sometimes!?

The truth is that it does *not* honor the Lord to overeat (aka: be gluttonous). It is overindulgence and truly sinful! I was actually being prideful when I was heavier because I was prideful about my humbleness! Talk about ridiculousness! I felt that since I was not being overly concerned about my appearance that I was being a more godly woman! I didn't even think about the health aspect...I figured I was "healthy enough".

June 2012 I knew I was too large. I knew I was eating wrong. I knew I wasn't exercising enough...(ok, at ALL). I needed to hear Chris tell me though. I needed that push to get me going. He always told me he loved me no matter my size. He loved ME. Although that is a beautiful thing to hear...it helped me stay content in my laziness (not that I was lazy....I kept my house clean and cared for my children etc....however I was lazy in caring properly for myself). I told him one day that I *needed* him to tell me the truth...was I fat? He finally told me that he did think I should lose some weight for my health. I cried and cried....I was ashamed for letting myself go. I was ashamed that he could not think anything but wonderful thoughts about me....but I am *so* glad he told me! After wiping my face (from all the tears) I determined it was TIME!

I cried out to the Lord...I needed His help. I repented of my sin of gluttony and sloth in that area of my life. He is so good and faithful. He gave me strength! It wasn't easy...but it had to be done. I signed up for spin (cycling class) classes and started right away to eat right (and logging all my food intake into myfitnesspal.com). I would eat a couple eggs in the morning with 4 pieces of turkey bacon. I lost 60 pounds in the first 6 months or so. I started 2013 weighing a much healthier weight than I had when I started 2012! I didn't completely let myself go again through the years....I continued to spin (and became a spin instructor) and run and be active. I was still careful of what I ate but started to indulge a little more than I should. For the past 5 years I never gained all the weight back but I would gain 10-20 lbs....lose them, gain them, lose them....and so on.

I started 2018 determined to get back on track and really get healthy! I wanted to meet my goals! I don't want to be a fitness guru or anything ~ I just want to eat right, be healthy and be pleasing to my husband's eyes! :)  I added weight lifting to my exercise as well...I take a class with lots of reps with lower weights...I don't do heavy lifting like the guys do. We work on toning muscles more than bulking. I do lift a little heavier with a couple friends once a week though. I workout 6 to 7 days a week. I usually take Sunday as a rest day....but sometimes if it is nice out...it's nice to go for a walk or run!

I took the photo on the right last week (have you made it this far in the post? Goodness...I have written a novel! Sorry!). Today I am 21 lbs lighter than I was at the beginning of the year and a lot toner and fit! I still have 13 lbs to go before I reach my first goal weight. Although I am enjoying fitting into smaller clothes and just feeling healthier overall ~ I also have such a peace to know that I am not being gluttonous any more and that I am caring for my body...and trying to teach my children good habits as well! :o) Oh...and don't get me wrong ~ I am not totally focused on this outer shell of a body that God gave me...for: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Prov. 31:30)

I really look forward to wearing sundresses and lovely things when the weather is nice (modest of course). I also look forward to getting my exercise out in the garden and just outside in general rather than the gym. Right now it is too yucky and cold out. We're suppose to get more snow tomorrow!

I'm sure I rambled above and forgot to add things I should have and added too much in places too. I know some of you have followed along on my blog for years and heard my weightloss updates through the years...I just wanted to give the most recent update for any that may be interested.

Although I am working hard I truly, truly praise God for keeping me on track...giving me strength, encouraging me through His Word and loving me. He gives me perspective when I want to have a pity party...and He gave me a husband that is truly the *best* support system anyone could have asked for! It always makes me smile when I ponder God's sovereignty and eternal plans....how He works things out the way He does. I know it doesn't mean I won't experience pain and suffering in this life ~ I actually I expect that ~ but when you do see the good and beauty in your life...to know God is the author of it all makes my mind wonder-filled!

Ok...so it's getting late. I need to go, unwind from my day and rest. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me (link in left sidebar or my profile) or leave a comment below! Thank you for taking the time to visit me here. I pray you find encouragement and maybe even some conviction (if needed). I pray that the Lord is glorified and exalted here!

Have a lovely weekend ahead....and truly, thank you for visiting!
Warmly,
Katy

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Making the Living Room a Little Cozier!



I am super excited to share a recent *great* buy! I have *always* wanted a braided rug! I love them! I love the cozy look of them and just always felt that one would look right in my home. I have never figured I could afford one however as they were always way above my price range...but I always liked to keep an eye out for a sale (just in case a great one would come along) through the years.

I don't remember how I found it...but JC Penney was having a sale on things in their store (online). I happened to look at their rugs and found that their braided rugs were significantly on sale (I am talking 60% off type of sale!!). I was ecstatic! It was still higher in price than I like to spend on anything (the smaller the price, the better...right?) but it was definitely within a range we could afford. Plus, I shop through ebates (no, this isn't a sponsored post or anything!) and got 10% money back! Seriously! Isn't that amazing!? Plus, it was free shipping! It was such a great deal and when Chris gave me the *O.K.* I bought it! 


I still need to purchase a rug pad for underneath it and hope to get that soon! It's at a store that is the opposite direction than I usually go so I just need to make an effort to get there! I don't think we have the rug centered just how I want it at the moment...but once we get the rug pad and such we'll get it all situated!


I love the look of it and feel that is makes the room cozier!


Madelyn and Jaxson helped me do some rug-switcheroo-ing (Xavier is with his Pop-Pop ~ working at the garage). We took the rug that used to be in the living room and put it into the dining room...


You may notice the table isn't centered above. It drives me bonkers...however if we center it properly it makes it difficult to walk through there to get to the computer/piano room. We do a lot of homeschooling and meals around that table and just needed room to get around it properly. As long as I don't focus on the uncentered-ness of the table...I can tolerate it! ;)

Below you will see the dining room rug that we moved into what we call the "pantry" room. Does it look amazing? No...but that's okay! It works for now! We have soft wood floors in most of the house. They get scratched and torn up so easily. Until (or *if*) we are ever able to afford different flooring having area rugs saves our feet from getting splinters! :)


Thank you for sharing in my excitement with me! I love to get a great deal...plus I love to make my house a little cozier! Two wins for us this time!

I gotta run! I'll update on my weight loss and fitness goals/successes soon! My husband also turned 39 recently! I'm still trying to process that since I was with him on his 21st birthday as well!! How can 18 years have passed by so quickly!?

Until next time friends,
Katy :)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Everyone carries an atmosphere about him...

...It may be healthful and invigorating, or it may be unwholesome and depressing. It may make a little spot of the world a sweeter, better, safer place to live in; or it may make it harder for those to live worthily and beautifully who dwell within its circle.” 

~J.R. Miller


I realized it has been quite some time since I last blogged! Life has a way of continually happening...moments ticking by and I get caught up in them! Since my aunt's surprise party nothing overly exciting has happened. The days go by and we work on our homeschooling and housework. Meals are made, exercise is done, games are played (the children and I enjoy playing yahtzee lately!) and it is my prayer that God is glorified in it all!

Pictured above is one of the latest books I am reading (as usual, along with many others). And below you will see our supper one evening...homemade vegetable beef soup (a family favorite!).


We've had weather all over the place with lots of snow for a bit...



...and now the snow has melted and it has been raining....a lot! I am *not* a fan of all the mud...but oh how thankful I am for the back porch Chris and our Brother-in-Love built last summer! It helps keep the mud from trailing right into the (appropriately named) mud room! I mean, it may be *called* the mud room....but I still want it to be a *clean* room! :)

A look at my recipe organization...just for fun...



Valentine's Day was sweet and simple. I taught a spin/cycling class that evening at the Y...when I came up to the Lobby Chris and the children had these flowers set there for me! It was so sweet and I love them! They are still living now too...although some are starting to wither a bit! I absolutely *love* flowers of all kinds. I love them in a garden, around a house, and fresh cut! I am so thankful the Lord put flowers on this earth for us to enjoy! How they can really brighten up a room! With the gray rainy days they are a real cheery spot!



I found this basket at Goodwill and thought it looked nice hanging on a wall in the bathroom!



A peek in the mud room...


My beautiful hyacinth is tilting....I keep turning it to try to get it to stand straight...and nothing helps! haha! The flowers are pretty though. In the jars on that window sill are dog treats. Cash needs grain free treats...so they are in one jar. Mickey has regular treats in the other jar!


I hope you are well and I appreciate you stopping by to visit! I know life is busy! I'm sorry this post isn't very exciting...just a little of what's been going on around here lately. Another quick little tidbit of news...I have lost almost 15 pounds since the beginning of the year! I have been striving to eat right and exercise daily. I have added a Body Pump class twice a week to my routine. It's lifting weights (not heavy weights....but lighter weights with a lot of reps and sets). It is challenging but great! :) 

I gotta keep going with my day! Have a lovely week ahead!

Joyfully,
Katy

HERE is a short Youtube video by Tim Challies about 5 of the worst books labeled "Christian"....it's worth a watch! :o) 

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Surprise Party!


Setting Up

Last Friday and Saturday for us was really busy! My aunt (my mom's sister) turns 60 in a couple weeks. My mom planned a surprise party for her...a few weeks early so she wouldn't suspect anything! She lived in south PA for a long time so my mom invited a lot of her friends and one of her favorite jazz singers from there! They all made the 4+ hour trip up to celebrate with us! 

We all worked hard to make my mom's vision come alive! X helped her cut large branches (that happened to be thorn branches ~ ouch!). After letting them dry, they hung them from the ceiling (which took hours)! I worked on cleaning the girls bathroom (it took a while!)...Madelyn and Jax...as well as other family members helped too. There was a *lot* to do (It took two whole days!)! I even counted the square tiles on the floor to make sure all the tables were perfectly spaced! Madelyn teased me but I couldn't help myself!

Mom made (and a couple of my cousins served) lasagna. We had appetizers, bread and salads too! 


My aunt likes wine (as do her friends) and so my mom had all different kinds of cakes and wine (normally she would have hand-made the cakes because she is detailed and fantastic like that ~ but there was just too much to do and so she had them made for Madelyn and I to go pick up!)....


People began arriving...even family that lives across the state! It was great to see them as well as meet some of my aunt's lovely friends! There was much anticipation waiting for my aunt to arrive (who had *no* idea). We enjoyed welcoming people, talking and meeting new people...


Finally she arrived! She thought my mom was using the fire hall to throw a dinner for her church (as her church's basement was undergoing renovations anyway...so it was a perfect cover!) and my mom acted like she "forgot" the Valentine's games that she had printed out. My aunt lives in a house right next to my parents so she went over and got the "forgotten" games and brought them to the fire hall....thinking my mom needed them. She was completely blown away when she walked in and we all yelled, "Surprise!"...she was so shocked she walked back outside! Haha! She came back in though soon after and was crying. I think she truly felt loved! She got lots of hugs and was so thrilled to see all the people she loved here for her!! Below is my aunt in the jean jacket (with purple hair ;) She's eclectic, unique and fun...


Finally, everyone sat down to eat while we listened to beautiful, live jazz music being sung!


Jaxson...handsome as always!


My cousin works in a flower shop. My mom ordered tulips....aren't they beautiful? They were put at every table!


After the busyness of the prep-work...it was nice to be able to sit and relax with my honey...while listening to the music! We aren't very talented at taking selfies...here's the first one we tried ((fail!))...


The second one worked out a bit better! :)


Sunday we missed church (although Madelyn still went) so we could go out to breakfast with everyone (before our extended family all returned home across the state). It was so nice to be around everyone! :o) After that some of us headed back to the fire hall to finish cleaning up! That took quite a while too! I was *so* thankful to get home later in the afternoon and take a little nap!

Mom even asked if I wanted to take some tulips home! I accepted eagerly! I have some in my living room...


...and in the kitchen! I love fresh flowers!


This morning I woke early and was ready to start my day. I got laundry going, packed lunches, started the kids on schooling (after our prayer, scripture reading and catechism), did some organizing and got things ready to take to Goodwill. I was so happy to be getting things done. It's such a great feeling when you have some extra energy! And then...

While unloading the stuff at the local Goodwill donation center I fell. On ice. Hard. I hurt my left leg pretty badly. It's painful to walk. I had to have someone fill in for me at spin class (cycling) tonight at the Y...there was just no way I could teach. I am praying it is just bruised (although one isn't showing yet). The muscle in the front and back of my leg hurt terribly. I am hoping it feels a bit better in the morning. The idea of missing another day of exercising distresses me! I take Sunday as a rest day...but taking today off was rough. 

On the positive side though...if you read my last post you will know my children were under-the-weather for a bit! I finally decided that maybe it wasn't a cold virus and maybe we needed to go to the doctor. Turns out they each had a sinus infection. They are all all meds...and feeling *much* better! It's back-to-normal around here in that sense! The children are back to their energetic, jovial selves! :o) Thank you for your kind suggestions and prayers. 

I am pretty tired! I'm headed upstairs to tuck down snug under the covers and spend some time reading and in prayer. I am praying my leg is better tomorrow so I can get back to doing what needs done! :)  (Our other lap top is giving us trouble now too....so far 2018 hasn't been good to me! Thankfully, I trust in a God Who knows all and is in control of *every*thing! So, I know whatever happens is ordained by Him and I need to just keep my focus on Him!)

Sorry for such a long post (that goes off in lots of different directions!). Thanks for coming by and reading (especially if you got this far!). I hope your week is lovely! 

Warmly,
Katy


Saturday, February 3, 2018

"I've never met Orcs or Ents or Elves --

...but the feel of it, the sense of a huge past, of lowering danger, of heroic tasks achieved by the most apparently unheroic people, of distance, vastness, strangeness, homeliness (all blended together) is so exactly what living feels like to me."
~C.S. Lewis


One of the books I am currently reading is "The Romantic Rationalist ~ God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis" (Edited by John Piper & David Mathis). I'm not too far into it but love learning about other men/women of faith! :) Just thought I would share it in case you are interested in it as well! Here's a quote in the book by John Piper...

"One of the things that makes him [Lewis]  admirable to me, in spite of all our doctrinal differences, is his crystal clear, unashamed belief that people are lost without Christ and that every Christian should try to win them, including world-class scholars of medieval and Renaissance literature. And so, unlike many tentative, hidden, vague, approval-craving intellectual Christians, Lewis says outright, 'The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.' And again: 'The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.'"


My children are under-the-weather unfortunately. As you can see in the picture above, I have essential oils diffusing into the air in the living room (where they have been camping out the most). It started with Jaxson last week. He got a cold and it just hasn't gone away! He feels lousy and his nose is running so bad (more than I have ever seen a nose run before!) that it is chapping his nose and face! We have tried vaseline and even chap stick on his skin but despite all the nose blowing and wiping we just can't keep up with it! 

A couple days later Madelyn and Xavier woke up with sore throats. I have had strep throat before and I don't think that is what it is. I have been looking and checking. If it is viral there is nothing the doctor can do so we have just been trying to make them more comfortable...however if things don't start to improve by the beginning of the week I may call and get them all in...just to make sure. It's awful seeing them all just feel "blah". 

Although our wood shed still has wood, Chris went out to the woods and got more just as back-up since the temps have been so cold here lately. The children were quite glad that they didn't need to come out and help us unload and stack all that wood! ;) 


I've been busy at home....keeping chores done as well as trying to keep things sanitary. We can't afford for Chris and me to get sick too right now. Too much to do and kidlets to care for! Thankfully, the Lord has been merciful to us and we are healthy. We've been really particular about spraying anti-bacterial stuff on door handles and phones etc. We are diligent about praying for the children as well. I've tried to buy some different medicines to help them be more comfortable (as well as natural remedies) but things haven't really helped a lot. I've also bought boxes and boxes (and boxes) of tissues (the plus lotion ones) for Jax. His poor little nose! 

I've been continuing with my healthy eating and going to the gym daily (I have added a strength training class to my cardio to help build muscle as well). I am excited to share that I have lost 10 pounds this past month (I hadn't gained back all the weight I lost previously....just a little of it...but I still saw my need to be in control of what I put in my mouth)! I am hoping to continue on that way and although I must admit that I desire to *look* thinner and neater ~ over all my main focus is that when I overeat I realize I am sinning against the Lord. I don't want to be gluttonous. I want to be wise with my food intake and use my body the way the Lord designed it to be used....not abused! :) 

This is *not* an easy thing (at least for me) because some food tastes really good. But the Lord tells us to be self-controlled numerous places in His Word (it is one of the fruits of the Spirit)! I think THIS link about the sin of gluttony is quite helpful! And a quote from Charles Spurgeon: 

"I believe that gluttony is as much a sin in the sight of God as drunkenness." 


Well, there was a quick summary of what's been happening around here. I just wanted to leave you with a snippet from in another book I am reading "Beautiful Living by J.R. Miller" that you may find encouraging as I did!!

"Christ wants daily to pour His grace through us to other lives, and we are ready for this most sacred of all ministries only when we are content to be nothing so that Christ may be all in all; vessels emptied that He may fill them; channels through which His grace may flow." (emphasis mine)

Joyfully,
Katy